India's longest railroad bridge across the Brahmaputra river was inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi yesterday marking a strategic connectivity project that will facilitate faster movement of civilians as well as defence personnel between Assam and Arunachal Pradesh bordering China.
Modi flagged off the first train over the separate rail bridge that covers a distance of five km as Modi termed the inauguration of the project as a “historic” day for the north eastern India.
The foundation stone for Assam's Bogibeel bridge was laid in January, 1997 and work on the project began in 2002 when Atal Bihari Vajpayee was Prime Minister but it was only yesterday that the double decker rail-and-road bridge opened to traffic linking Assam's Dibrugarh and Dhemaji districts with Arunachal Pradesh, reducing the travel time between the two points by four hours and help avoid a 170-km detour.
The bridge, which has a serviceable period of 120 years, has strategic significance for India's defence and has been built strong enough to stand the weight of military tanks. The three-lane road bridge can support the landing of fighter jets.
The Bogibeel Bridge is India's only fully-welded bridge for which European codes and welding standards were followed. The 4.9 km-long bridge was constructed at an estimated cost of Rs 5,900 crore.
State-owned Steel Authority of India Limited (SAIL) has supplied around 35,400 tonnes of steel for construction of the bridge.
Speaking at a function after opening the bridge, Modi said delayed infrastructure projects were adversely impacting India's development trajectory and his government worked towards their quick completion.